Ek Rani ki dukhbhari kahani

Aayesha Kuduskar, the original protagonist of Jhansi Ki Rani, was suddenly replaced by Ulka Gupta despite putting in four months of hard work and also changing her school to get ample time for the project. An inconsolable Aayesha had to undergo counselling.While the young Ulka Gupta aka Jhansi Ki Rani is all set for her big stint on the new show Ek Veer Stree Ki Kahaani… Jhansi Ki Rani, 13-year-old Aayesha Kuduskar is extremely upset about being replaced after working on the show for four months.

Aayesha was initially selected to play the title role but was replaced by Ulka since there was a change in the show’s production house. Aayesha had signed the serial contract at the beginning of this year after which she had regularly started shooting and was being trained in horse-riding and sword-fighting. She had also appeared briefly in the promos.

Aayesha’s mother, Leena Kuduskar said, “From January to April, everything was fine. Then we got instructions from the production house, which was initially handling this serial, to stop shooting for some time because of a ‘technical problem’. After a month, another production house, Contiloe Films took over the serial and dropped Aayesha without giving us any reason. They replaced her with Ulka Gupta. We have been trying to find out the reason but we still haven’t received any reply from the production house.”

Worse still, as Aayesha, a Standard VIII student, couldn’t get much leave from her school (Bombay Scottish) because of the long project, she took admission in Powai’s Hiranandani School, which agreed to grant her enough time off from school.

Commenting on her young girl’s state of mind, Leena said, “Aayesha was very upset. She cried when she saw Ulka in the promos. She went into depression, but counselling helped her come out of it. We have not filed a complaint yet. My only worry is that this shouldn’t happen to other children. They are too young to take the stress.”

Aayesha, who has acted in three films and several serials said, “Initially, I cried on seeing the promos. But I am much stronger now, thanks to my parents. This is not the end of my career.”

Meanwhile, Akash Chawla, marketing head of the channel, said, “There was a change in the production house and we auditioned Ulka and finalised her for the role. Aayesha was extremely good but Ulka was absolutely amazing.” When asked if the replacement was fair considering that Aayesha had undergone training for four months for the show, he said, “We had some contractual obligations. Ulka was brilliant and that’s why we finally cast her in the show.”

Report By: Santosh Andhale

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